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Ultrasound, and: Service Not Included

From: Éire-Ireland
Volume 48, Issue 3&4, Fall/Winter 2013
pp. 308-309 | 10.1353/eir.2013.0021

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Now it blisters like newly-wed paint,
now it works itself into cartography—
my infidelity smeared across the screen.

Waldseemüller’s America, that gash of it,
the boat that found it, the parrot
bearing its legend, the tiny growing parts.

We can make out stray words. Santa Maria!
Rio! Caput! Here Lake Michigan
will settle in, red and blue states rise up,
here ribbon-scar the Mason-Dixon line.

“Your baby’s fists have already begun
to open and close!” the technician cries.
My husband cannot meet my eye.

Service Not Included

Who’s to thank for the buckets of lavender thrown open beside us,
for the foam-clouds on twin cappuccinos,
for the carved boxes that hold sugar,
for the child telling reams about superheroes,
for the darkening sky of the waiter,
at a café in the shopping centre
when you cannot speak for your tears?
Hospital coffee was never so kindly, so quick to make believe.
On the morning I wed, you and I
came here to the shopping centre
and scented women pared our nails in a scented room.
Who’s to thank for their cool hands
working away in our memories? Here, your hands
are out of my reach. You must have thought it but,
when my son was born howling and writhing
and thrust to my skin, how your own son left the room
and the snap they left you to hold of him. Your hands
are smaller than mine, and neat.
How they told you the hospital name and you thought
that dun square of Monopoly board,
made your way there by a route you’d score
into your palms by the end; saved change
for the car park; packed a Thermos, perhaps.
Now families glide about the shopping centre
in neons fresh from invention, eyes shiny with gratitude,
music tasteful and tender.
You must have thought, when my son has made strange,
raged at being made come asunder,
of all the times you had to leave the hospital
and drive home to your daughters.
Of all the skin we need to touch and are not touched,
of all the starving to the touch, the familiar injustices.
Spread coins thick across the tables,
go about the shopping centre,
praise the coffee, the kindness of the escalator, haircuts,
the beautiful, the beautiful, the familiar,
the comfortable weather. Who’s to thank? Who’s to
praise for your hands, who sits up there in head office
taking our minds off the past waiting rooms and coffee docks?

Ailbhe Darcy  

Ailbhe Darcy was born in Dublin in 1981. Her debut collection Imaginary Menagerie (Bloodaxe Books, 2011) was shortlisted for the Strong Award and a poem from it featured as a Guardian “Poem of the Week.” She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Notre Dame.

Copyright © 2013 Irish American Cultural Institute
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Ailbhe Darcy. "Ultrasound, and: Service Not Included." Éire-Ireland 48.3 (2013): 308-309. Project MUSE. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Darcy, A.(2013). Ultrasound, and: Service Not Included. Éire-Ireland 48(3), 308-309. Irish-American Cultural Institute. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Ailbhe Darcy. "Ultrasound, and: Service Not Included." Éire-Ireland 48, no. 3 (2013): 308-309. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed November 11, 2013).
T1 - Ultrasound, and: Service Not Included
A1 - Ailbhe Darcy
JF - Éire-Ireland
VL - 48
IS - 3
SP - 308
EP - 309
PY - 2013
PB - Irish-American Cultural Institute
SN - 1550-5162
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/eire-ireland/v048/48.3-4.darcy.html
N1 - Volume 48, Issue 3&4, Fall/Winter 2013
ER -


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